Iannetta proving to be tough out for pitchers
Angels catcher leading MLB backstops in walks since start of 2013
ATLANTA -- Chris Iannetta started behind the plate on Saturday night despite his previous history against Braves starter Gavin Floyd. The Angels catcher entered the game 0-for-11 with two strikeouts in his career against the right-hander.
No Major League pitcher had faced Iannetta more times without giving up a hit or walking the veteran backstop than Floyd. But Iannetta finally broke through Saturday, getting hit by a pitch in one of his three plate appearances against the right-hander.
David Hale also plunked Iannetta on Saturday night, doubling the number of times he had been hit by a pitch this season entering the game. He was hit by a pitch only twice in each of the past two seasons as well.
Iannetta finished 1-for-4 on Saturday and has now reached base safely in 13 of his previous 14 starts, batting .333 (16-for-48) with two homers, three doubles, four RBIs, four walks and a .415 on-base percentage during that span. He leads all MLB catchers with 88 walks since the beginning of 2013 and owns a .373 OBP, which is on pace to be the second-best of his career.
"Same thing as always, try not to get myself out as much as I can," Iannetta said. "The game's hard enough when the pitcher's trying to get you out and you're getting yourself out, so I try to eliminate the number of times that I do. I try to just make solid contact and get a good pitch to hit or hopefully draw a walk."
Scioscia on leave to attend Welch's funeral
ATLANTA -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia missed Saturday night's game against the Braves to attend the funeral of 1990 American League Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch. Bench coach Dino Ebel served as acting manager for the third time this season.
Ebel hopes to preserve his perfect record as a Major League skipper, but he would not mind a little excitement.
"For me it's fun when you get a chance to have the [lineup] card in your pocket for one game or whatever it is," Ebel said. "You kind of want to make decisions. You want it to be a close game to win. You're down 10 or up 10, it's just basic stuff."
Tha Halos won both games that Ebel managed during early May while Scioscia attended the college graduation of his daughter. As he did before, Scioscia gave Ebel free reign over the club's decision-making as well as the lineup card.
"He doesn't say, 'Hey, you need to do this.' No, no, no. He never does that," Ebel said. "As a matter of fact, he said yesterday, 'Hey, I'm going to be heading out, so you've got the game.' So, that's it."
Scioscia and Welch were teammates with the Dodgers for eight seasons from 1980-87. Welch died on June 9 at the age of 57. Ebel said he would call Scioscia after Saturday's game just to update the skipper on what happened during the night.
"He doesn't tell me to, but I do just to let him know," Ebel said. "I know if I was the manager and I was gone, after the game, I would want to know if everybody is feeling better or did anybody get hurt. That's the part that's important."
Skaggs on track with second running session
ATLANTA -- The Angels have not scheduled a bullpen session for left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who sustained a right hamstring strain on June 5 in Houston, but he remains on schedule for his anticipated return next weekend.
Skaggs ran in the outfield and played catch again on Saturday. Acting manager Dino Ebel said the southpaw will throw a bullpen session once the training staff approves. Manager Mike Scioscia said on Friday that Skaggs would not need a rehab assignment.
"I know he's feeling better," Ebel said. "Way better. A lot better."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.